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MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

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Written by
Christian Vinaa - March 2014

"That's how I see it . . ."

Theme : What is wrong with Märklin ?

I could have asked :
"Is there something wrong with Märklin ?", but that wouldn't have caught your eye as much as the other question.

Märklin has had some turbulent years and the new owner; Florian Sieber; has barely, ( as we know it ), had his chance to make decisions of his own.

Perhaps it not fair to criticize, but Herr Sieber : The honeymoon will very soon be over !

One thing, however, that I would like to point out, is that Märklin REALLY need to manage production lines better.
  • The days, where dealers received a truckload of starter-sets in January instead of in November / December where the starter-sets could be sold like hot bread to eager grand-parents, MUST be 100 % history.

  • The total mis-management of the Märklin boxcar on display at the "Märklin Tage" in Göppingen in September 2011, and the 48058 car, that was delivered to shops about one month AFTER the "Märklin Tage", MUST be 100 % history.
    Märklin 48058
    The 48058 model should OF COURSE have been for sale, FROM the scale 1:1 car at the station in Göppingen, where it was on display.
    Think about how many boxcars Märklin could have sold to eager children wanting to have an exact model of the same car they saw at the station.
    Märklin could even have made a special "break-even" price; - and still have made good money in the long run.
    Now the money spent on advertising on the scale 1:1 version is in fact wasted, and the 48058 became just "another" boxcar from Märklin that no-one really could care about.

  • At the Intermodellbau 2013, in Dortmund, Märklin produced, as they do for every Intermodellbau, ( which is an yearly event with fixed dates ), a special car for the fair. Problem was that the sellers at the fair only received THEIR cars at midday on the first day of the fair.
    So one full half day went by where the sellers couldn't even sell the car that Märklin produced especially for the fair. It was in fact only due to the alertness of one seller, that the car arrived that day at all.
    Märklin could - and should - have delivered the car in good time; even setting a starting date for selling the car; - just like the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. What a publicity stunt that would be - having trucks leaving the WERK 1 in Göppingen with packages to the dealers.
    To make matters worse; the staff at Märklin's own stand didn't even know that there was going to be a special car for the fair.

  • "The Insider Club News" and the "Märklin Magazin" is more often than not sent out way to late, if you look at the relevancy of the information in the magazines.
    It is simply no use to receive a magazine 3 weeks after an event occurs that is being adverticed in the magazine.
The things I have mentioned above are NOT rocket-science, but it does need some advance planning, and apparently Märklin is not well equipped in that department.

I am not educated in business management and I do not have a fancy "business-phd" title, but I can recognize common sense when I see it. And frankly - Märklin : I haven't seen a lot from you.

Better co-ordination is clearly also wanted :

The new Starlight Express locomotive ( H0 39372 - Z 88675 - Trix H0 22197 ) and the scale 1:1 version ( werbe-lok ) was not bad advertising.
Märklin 39372
Neither is the fact that you can ( or should be able to ) track where the locomotive is via Märklins website ➚ although there has been several technical problems with the GPS, which in all honesty isn't Märklins problem.

The HUGE mis-management was that the werbe-lok appeared in June 2013. In September 2013 at the "Märklin Tage" the werbe-lok was practically NO-WHERE to be seen. Some reported that the lok had driven through Göppingen Station, but there was no schedule for that at all.

I, by pure chance, saw the lok Sunday evening, after the "Märklin Tage" had finished, going from Ulm to Stuttgart.

Think about the advertising value that Märklin could have gained from making public the times where the lok would pass through Göppingen Station.

Could it be done ? - Sure - the lok pulled the normal IC-train which runs on a fixed schedule.

Given that Märklin has paid Deutsche Bahn around 100.000 euro for the werbe-lok (perhaps the company behind the musical "Starlight Express" also chipped in) it stands to reason that Märklin could have had at least some say in where the lok would be during the "Märklin Tage" in September 2013.

Märklin tried very hard to sell the models of the Starlight Express locomotive during the "Märklin Tage" , - even offering a FREE car if you signed on the dotted line.

Alas - all they could sell were pre-orders - you could order the locomotive for later delivery.

Again : a huge missed opportunity.

I am confident that there are several "good" explanations as to why it couldn't be done better, but it is simply NOT good enough.

If Märklin want to succeed, Märklin can't be satisfied with "explanations" and "excuses".

Again - this is NOT rocket-science - it is VERY basic business sense.

And it is NOT about using MORE money - just spending the money you already plan to use in a better way.

I get the distinct feeling that it takes more than employees with a suit, a fancy-smancy business degree and the wish to put another job on the Curriculum Vitae.

It takes employees with one simple quality : common sense.

end of line

Copyright © Christian Vinaa
2014 -
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